Yesteryear, The Next Generation is Wayne Stewart’s first book in response to his Dad’s challenge to write the story of the family’s next generations. Often-humorous, sometimes emotional, it’s the Baby Boomers story of the times of the post-World War II generations. Continuing in Yesteryear’s vein with the experiences of a son of Texas and technology executive, a man of faith with a love of outdoors, and his family. Second in the series, it sets the stage for future generations to write their own Yesteryears.
A sample from Yesteryear, The Next Generation.
Brad’s Birth, and Lessons Learned
“Our first child, Brad, was born on January 14, 1975, delivered by Dottie’s OB/GYN, who was a crusty old geezer who had been in the baby delivery business far too long.
“The Labor: Dottie’s labor began about 2:00 a.m., and I called the doctor to forewarn him. He told us to go to the hospital when the contractions were five minutes apart, saying he would see us at the hospital. When the contractions got to five minutes, about five in the morning, we headed for the hospital, and here begins a series of “Lessons Learned,” from our experience during the birth of our first baby.
“Lesson Learned Number 1: When your wife is in labor and you’re driving to the hospital, as a contraction approaches, never, never, never make your arm accessible. Don’t reach over to hold her hand, don’t pat her on the arm, and don’t even let her see your arm. A woman in labor has the grip of a 1,000 pound alligator, the tenacity of a snapping turtle, and she leads with her fingernails. You will not retrieve your arm until the contraction is fully past, and she WILL draw blood, no matter if you have clothing over your arm or not.
“Lesson Learned Number 1A: In the event she insists on accessing your arm, be sure you’re wearing three layers of clothing, one of which is a heavy sweatshirt, or better yet, armor plating.
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“Dottie checked into the hospital, changed into a hospital gown, and got into a bed in a labor room. A nurse came in to record her history and “take a look,” and said, “Why, yes, I think you’ll be staying with us.” During the entire time in the hospital, Lesson Number 1 still applies. An emergency room doc came in to “take a look.” He pronounced everything on track, and that we’d wait for the OB/GYN to show up, which he did hours later. By the way, a woman has no modesty at a time like this, and a husband’s wishes to restrict access to what previously had been his exclusive, special-access territory has no bearing on the process. What follows is a warning to husbands who would like to preserve their exclusive access to that territory.
“Lesson Learned Number 3: If a pimply faced, seventeen-year-old adolescent who claims to be an intern approaches, wearing scrubs and acting official, and demands the opportunity to “take a look,” under no conditions should you punch him when he spends too much time in the inspection process. Rather, take him gently by the hand, stretch to your maximum height, and in your deepest, most mature voice, say, “Son, it’s time for you to go.”
Lesson Learned Number 3A: Just because a male is dressed in scrubs and walks confidently into the room to “take a look,” it doesn’t mean he’s a doctor. For me, male nurses are borderline for having access, and under no conditions should a housekeeper or kitchen worker be allowed to “take a look.” Evidence which should project doubt on the situation includes food crumbs on the guy’s scrubs, yellow toilet-scrubbing gloves in his back pocket, or outright drooling.
“The Delivery: Family having been notified, they began drifting into the waiting room, and each one wanted to go in to visit Dottie. We had to be careful that some hospital orderly, trash collector, or accountant wasn’t “having a look” at the time. Then the delivery doc showed up. The grizzled old goat came in wearing street clothes, yawning, and said, “Let me have a look. Yes, we’re having a baby, aren’t we?” He went outside to have a cigarette (and likely a shot of vodka), check his watch, suit up, and wait for some nurse or intern to tell him “it’s time.” At that point, the old doc ordered Dottie into the delivery room. I gowned up to see my baby being born; to this point, we didn’t know if it was a boy or girl. We had decided to go with drugs, in this case an epidural injection. Drugs are wonderful. I highly recommend them. The decibel level declines noticeably, and after you carefully test the “carry-over effect,” Lesson Number 1 will no longer apply.
“Lesson Learned Number 4: In this situation, drugs are good; they are your friend, and they are there to make the process more bearable and pleasant, and maybe even enjoyable. By all means, use them, and let your wife have some, too.”
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“Throughout the process, there was a slanted mirror on the wall across from the action area, and it was perfectly positioned so both Dottie and I could watch every step in the process. The nurses were scurrying around the delivery room, taking care of everything. They were great; and my respect for the nursing profession grew as I watched them expertly execute a very complex process. The doctor stood there with his arms crossed, monitoring progress until he judged it was time to get on with it. He then stepped up and everything focused on him and what he was doing. Dottie was feeling no pain, although she was experiencing pressure, but with the epidural in place, she was somewhat of a spectator, too.”
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“The doc tied the cord and cut it, and my little son was carried to the side of the room, where his mouth and lungs were evacuated and he started crying. The nurse brought a crying Brad over to lie on Mom’s breast, where, as a Stewart male, he was happy as a clam. Throughout this whole, fascinating process, Dottie had been lying there, doing her nails, whistling a happy tune, and writing her thank you notes. OK, not really, but she was able to observe and enjoy the process, no matter how difficult it was, without a lot of pain. Refer to Rule 4, above. After that, things became a bit of a blur, because I knew I had to get out to the waiting area to tell everyone the news of our son.”
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“Lesson Learned Number 8: No matter how wildly your AD/HD has kicked in or your brain has accelerated past Mach 3, be cool. Hang out with the doc and nurses while they tidy things up, enjoy the view of your baby, hold him if you can, kiss your wife, and tell her how wonderfully she did. Because, she did do wonderfully.”
On Raising Daughters
“True confession time, I don’t I understand women. After twenty-three years being raised by one, more than forty years married to one, and thirty-eight years raising one, I still don’t understand a lot of what goes on in their heads. I’m sure it’s all completely rational and logical to them, but for me, as the King in “The King And I” said, “Tis a puzzlement.”
“When Christie was thirteen and definitely into the crazy world of hormones, Dottie decided it was time for her to have some nice undergarments. As her Dad, I felt Christie should maintain a chaste and conservative demeanor, and there was no sense in buying stuff that might put the wrong ideas into some boy’s head. I speak with certainty on this point: an adolescent boy has only one thing on his mind, and though he will subvert his will to a cute girl, don’t mistake what he says for what he means. At that age, boys don’t need the slightest bit of encouragement. Dottie took Christie shopping, and I wasn’t invited. I discussed with Dottie what I considered acceptable undergarments for my young daughter, closer to burlap sacks than lacy silkies. These are technical terms that fathers need to learn before their daughters reach puberty. You also need to think this through carefully, because there are minefields everywhere. When I expressed my wishes concerning my daughter’s undergarments, as her father and head of the household, I expected to have a say in the matter. Dottie’s response was not comforting, “Whatever.”
“When they came home, Christie was dancing on cloud nine, and she rushed upstairs to try on her new “intimates.” I didn’t say model them; she just wanted to put them on. I asked to see what Dottie had bought for my daughter to wear, mindful of a young boy’s perspective should he get even the slightest glimpse of a frilly underthing. So Dottie showed me the stuff, and I was appalled, to put it mildly. There were itty bitty panties with lace (no thongs, at least on this occasion), and bras that were entirely too small, lacey, and sexy. In my mind, Christie’s bra should resemble a sports bra, a) eliminating all possibility of a view of anything below her neck, b) smashing her chest to shapelessness, and c) rendering cleavage irrelevant. Furthermore, panties were supposed to be utilitarian items worn under jeans, never seen in the light of day, and preferably of wool or flannel. There should be provisions for an attachment; say, a chastity belt. My wishes were not honored, and what I saw was scandalous and seductive. When I complained, my lovely wife, with whom we shared this daughter, said straight out, “Christie needs clothes like these to feel like a woman. They make her feel good about herself.” As far as I was concerned, none of that nonsense was applicable to Christie until she was at least twenty-one, which I considered the age at which I was no longer responsible for her.
“Clearly, there was a conspiracy against Dad going on. I’m glad that girls feel good about themselves, and maybe twenty-one is a little old to loosen the reins, but I think everything else I said is right on the money. Besides, what do today’s standards have to do with my daughter? At the end of the argument, my wife said, “Whatever,” and, “Get over it.” You guys pay close attention to my mistake in this painful situation. I still have the design for that chastity belt, should you fathers like my advice.”